KTDA upbeat about tea prices

By Caroline Njenga

The Kenya Tea Development Agency is optimistic that tea prices that have been increasing at the Mombasa auction in recent weeks will cushion farmers against lower output as a result of drought.

Kenya Tea Development Agency Chairman Peter Kanyago attributes the increase in prices to higher demand for the produce.

The country has been hard hit by prolonged dry spells which has affected farming activities.

Tea is one of the crops whose production is expected to reduce by 22 percent this year due to the dry weather patterns.

Between January and March this year, tea production is expected to drop by 30 percent with some factories contemplating laying off some workers to remain afloat.

Kenya expects to produce 416 million kilograms of tea this year down from 473 million kilograms in 2016 due to prolonged dry spells.

KTDA is hopeful that the reduced production is likely to push up demand of the commodity as well as prices, spelling good fortunes for farmers.

At the Mombasa Tea Auction tea prices are currently averaging 3.6 US dollars per kilo, up from a mean of 2.36 dollars recorded last year.

The tea sub-sector contributes 7 percent to Kenya’s GDP.